Work could start on sta­tion soon with fund­ing boost

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Student Life - BY JAMIE LOPEZ

THE next stage of ef­forts to de­velop a train sta­tion in Skelmers­dale could be sped up us­ing fund­ing pro­vided through Trans­port for the North.

Lan­cashire County Coun­cil in­cluded a re­quest for fund­ing for de­tailed de­sign work for the rail link and sta­tion among a num­ber of projects which could be de­liv­ered quickly un­der a TfN re­quest for Gov­ern­ment fund­ing. The de­sign work is es­sen­tial for pro­gress­ing the bid be­yond its cur­rent phase of devel­op­ment and to speed up the plans.

The pro­pos­als put for­ward in­clude those which could help the econ­omy fol­low­ing the Covid-19 pan­demic and also in­clude de­vel­op­ing a case for a sta­tion at Midge Hall near Ley­land

Cur­rently, Skelmers­dale is the sec­ond largest town in the North West with­out a rail­way sta­tion, while the near­est, at Up Hol­land, is not eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble with­out a car and only has hourly ser­vices to Kirkby and Wi­gan.

This lim­its ac­cess to both Liver­pool and Manch­ester, as bus travel times are slow and jour­neys in­di­rect. Ear­lier this year, Lan­cashire County Coun­cil ap­proved plans to buy the for­mer Skelmers­dale Col­lege site for £1 and com­mit­ted £2m to de­mol­ish the build­ings ready for the sta­tion.

County Coun­cil­lor Michael Green, Lan­cashire County Coun­cil cab­i­net mem­ber for eco­nomic devel­op­ment, en­vi­ron­ment and plan­ning, said: “We know the Gov­ern­ment is keen to in­vest in trans­port in­fra­struc­ture, par­tic­u­larly where there is ev­i­dence that projects can be de­liv­ered quickly and that ev­ery pound spent will have a good re­turn and give con­fi­dence to busi­nesses.

“We’ve put for­ward a num­ber of schemes as part of the Trans­port for the North Eco­nomic Re­cov­ery Plan which are at an ad­vanced stage, and where an in­jec­tion of cash now could lead to work on the ground be­ing able to start quickly.

“These road, rail and sus­tain­able trans­port im­prove­ments are needed to up­date our in­fra­struc­ture and en­sure Lan­cashire can meet the needs of res­i­dents and busi­nesses as our econ­omy re­cov­ers from the pan­demic and grows.

“Some pro­pos­als such as the im­prove­ments to sup­port ac­tive travel in Pre­ston, and full du­alling of the A582, could be quickly pro­gressed to the point where work could start.

“There are also oth­ers, such as the devel­op­ment of a rail­way sta­tion for Midge Hall, which would di­rectly sup­port jobs in the con­struc­tion of houses and could po­ten­tially be de­liv­ered in the near fu­ture with fund­ing to de­velop them now.

“There are also a num­ber of big­ger schemes within Lan­cashire where we al­ready have a busi­ness case in devel­op­ment to sup­port them, but in­vest­ment at this stage could re­ally ac­cel­er­ater de­liv­ery. These schemes, such as the Skelmers­dale Rail Link, have the po­ten­tial to trans­form op­por­tu­ni­ties for our com­mu­ni­ties and boost Lan­cashire’s con­tri­bu­tion to the UK econ­omy.”

The for­mer Skelmers­dale Col­lege

County Coun­cil­lor Michael Green

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